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2015 Scion iQ Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Scion iQ was new.


Performance: 6.5

In the city, auto writers say the 2015 Scion iQ is easy to park and has adequate acceleration. However, test drivers say that the iQ has sluggish acceleration on the highway and lackluster handling compared with its rivals.

  • "Unfortunately, the 2015 Scion iQ doesn't offer much in the way of performance or versatility. Even as petite as it is, this 94-horsepower Scion isn't quick -- and while it may be easy to park, it doesn't inspire confidence at higher speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "It proved more than adequate for low-speed city driving, having the oomph to dodge and dart through traffic. But it lost steam easily--we had it floored while climbing a city hill as the iQ had given all the power it had available. The driving quality suffers, especially under acceleration, from the uneven power delivery of the CVT." -- CNET (2012)
  • "Every time the iQ is about to do something entertaining, the CVT intrudes and spoils it. Dive into a corner, the tires bite and…the transmission induces its drone of defeat and the car practically falls on its nose. Scion says the iQ will run from 0 to 60 mph in 11.8 seconds, but a better estimate might be a week." -- Car and Driver (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Scion iQ comes with a 94-horsepower, 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic. According to the EPA, the 2015 iQ gets 36/37 mpg city/highway, which is better than the fuel economy of most cars in the class.

Auto journalists report that the iQ has adequate power for city driving but is very slow during highway passing and merging. They also say that the CVT causes the engine to make loud, annoying droning noises during acceleration.

  • "While easy on gas, the 1.3-liter four-cylinder produces just 94 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque. That's fine for city driving, but on-ramps and passing situations can take a bit of advanced planning." -- Left Lane News
  • "With only 94 horses under the hood, don't expect quick passing and merging maneuvers. However, in city driving the iQ does deliver quick off-the-line starts and feels fairly zippy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The modest four-cylinder engine provides sufficient power around town, though the CVT can get annoying at times with its sluggish responses in traffic. When you floor it to pass or merge at higher speeds, the iQ generally gets the job done, but you're stuck listening to a tedious drone from the hard-working engine." -- Edmunds
  • "The iQ does 0-60 mph in about 10 seconds. That's OK for the urban grind, but marginal for highway passing, climbing steep hills, or merging onto fast-moving freeways, all of which demand patience and planning." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers are unimpressed with the 2015 Scion iQ’s handling, saying subcompact rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic are more nimble. They write that the iQ feels jumpy on the highway and is jerked around easily on uneven pavement. However, some note that the iQ’s responsive steering and small size make it very easy to park in the city.

  • "In a head-to-head comparison, the Chevy Sonic, Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 all best the iQ for road handling and fun-to-drive bragging rights." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2015 Scion iQ's specialty is city driving. Its quick steering and short wheelbase make impulsive U-turns easy, and diving into tiny parking spots is effortless." -- Edmunds
  • "Because of its tiny wheelbase and numb-on-center steering, the iQ can be darty on the highway." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Because of its compressed measurements, the iQ can be susceptible to pull and wander from road disturbances such as dips, grooves, and cable car tracks." -- Motor Trend (2012)

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